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Re: Permaculture farmer garden

At 07:48 AM 1/25/97 +1100, you wrote:

>Her suggestion for a permaculture market garden was to have two large fenced
>areas and to rotate these each year.  She gave specific suggestions for
>green manure crops while it was getting started, and predator-habitat
>plantings around the edges.  
>Then you put chooks (this is Australian for chickens) in one pen, and run
>them for free-range eggs.  They also dig up the soil, fertilise, get rid of
>weeds and pests, etc.
>In the other pen, which was prepared by the chickens the previous year, you
>broadcast a mixture of seeds, e.g. corn, tomatoes, anything, all mixed
>together.  You avoid your pathways which are made of something very cheap
>(e.g. sawdust, which will be dug up by the chooks the next year).  You rely
>on diversity to give you enough crop, shade out weeds, and reduce pests.
>Does anyone have any comments on this approach?
>Rhys Howitt
>Crossroads Medieval Village Co-op
>Yass, Australia

Marks comments...
I'm all for the part about rotating your graden/farm through grazing.  This
is a great way to build humas and make tillage fairly sustainable and more
profitable.  It has benifits for the stock as well, by breaking parasite
cycles and providing grazing for youngstock who are sensitive to worms.   I
think someone trying to make a living doing it may want to graze animals
becides chicken on some areas to manipulate N levels in the soil, as some
garden crops (tomatos, peppers) should have less average ammounts and some a
lot more (corn and grains).  Pigs are also excellent tillers of the soil,
weed eaters and manure incorperators.   Remember that many nutrients in feed
will wind up in the garden, as well as weed seeds from hay or bedding. 
As for the random spreading of seeds, I'm basically opposed.  Some things
mix well, like most salad greens, and i'm all for successional polycultures
etc.  But the general abandonment of all we know about companion planting,
canopy effects, row spaceing etc. is too risky when your income (or life)
depends on it.   Some compromise is achived by deciding which weeds to
tolerate and allow to go to seed.  One garden I worked in sprouted two kinds
of ameranth, purslane and lambs quaters, all fine salad greens, especially
when mixed with some currly red lettuce and sorrel from the planted garden.